Even though there is only one ranked matchup, MC&J has plenty of national picks on Saturday’s slate.
Last week ATS: 8-5 (4-2 National, 4-3 B1G)
Season ATS: 70-55-3 (33-27 National, 37-28-3 B1G)
Last week MC&J was able to grind out some results and finish with an 8-5 record. We should’ve known that another tight Penn State/Ohio State game was in the works. The ending of the SMU game was also tough to stomach. Who knows what would’ve happened if the Mustangs had been able to take the game to overtime.
Still, it’s hard to get too mad about being three games over .500 for the week. Hopefully we can attack November and stack covers like we did in October.
(All lines courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.)
No. 9 Wake Forest v. North Carolina (-2.5) – 12:00 PM EST – ABC
If you said before the season that one of the teams in this game would be 8-0, I would have bet on that team being North Carolina. The Tar Heels came into the season with high expectations since they had Sam Howell returning at quarterback. While Mack Brown’s team has failed in spectacular fashion numerous times this season, North Carolina is still a dangerous team since they can put points on the scoreboard.
Sam Hartman has been incredible so far this season, throwing 22 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Even though Hartman and the Demon Deacons have been great this year, I’m not convinced that Wake Forest is one of the 10 best teams in the country. Even though the Demon Deacons have handled their business so far this year, they haven’t really played anyone.
North Carolina has the offense that can match Wake Forest score-for-score. Sam Howell and company hand the Demon Deacons their first loss of the season in a wild shootout in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina 48, Wake Forest 41
Liberty v. No. 16 Ole Miss (-9.5) – 12:00 PM EST – SEC Network
How hilarious is it going to be to see Hugh Freeze return to Oxford? The former Ole Miss coach will bring Liberty to town to take on Lane Kiffin and the Rebels, who are coming off a loss to Auburn. While I’m sure that Ole Miss fans are appreciative of some of the wins that Freeze was able to lead the Rebels to, the team is definitely in a better position with Lane Kiffin now.
I know that Liberty is supposed to be one of those FBS underdogs since they are independent. The Flames do have Malik Willis, who is looking like he could be one of the best quarterbacks in this year’s NFL draft class. I’m just not convinced that Willis will be able to lead his team to a cover.
Normally you might think that Ole Miss might be looking ahead to next week’s game against Texas A&M. That won’t be the case this week with Freeze returning to town. The Rebels show the difference in depth and talent that they have. Liberty might hang around for a bit, but in the second half we see Ole Miss pull away a little.
Ole Miss 41, Liberty 24
No. 13 Auburn v. No. 14 Texas A&M (-4.5) – 3:30 PM EST – CBS
Just a month ago Texas A&M looked like they were headed towards another lost season after losing to Arkansas and Mississippi State. Then the Aggies shocked Alabama and followed up the upset with easy wins over Missouri and South Carolina. Running back Isaiah Spiller has found some more running room of late, recording 100-yard rushing outputs in each of the last two games.
Much like Texas A&M, Auburn has put some losses earlier in the season behind them. The Tigers will be looking for their third-straight win in a row over a ranked team after beating Arkansas and Ole Miss in their last two games. Bo Nix isn’t putting up flashy numbers, but he is winning, which is all that really matters.
I know that Nix could very well lead Auburn to victory here, since he has plenty of experience playing on the road in the SEC. I just don’t think he’ll get enough help to keep the Tigers’ winning streak going. We saw how much better the Aggies are in big games at Kyle Field, even with some of their questions at quarterback. I think they take down another team from Alabama on Saturday afternoon.
Texas A&M 27, Auburn 20
No. 11 Oklahoma State (-3.5) v. West Virginia – 3:30 PM EST – ESPN
Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Really West Virginia could be coming into this game at 7-1, as the Mountaineers have lost three games this year by six points or less. West Virginia has been able to finish off games better recently, following up their win against TCU a couple weeks ago with an upset of Iowa State last week.
After seeing their dreams of an undefeated season dashed a couple weeks ago, Oklahoma State rebounded last week with an easy win over Kansas. While the Cowboys do have a nasty defense, their offense doesn’t really concern me all that much. Jaylen Warren is a solid running back, while Spencer Sanders has shown difficulties with his decision-making throwing the football at times.
I do love situations like this where we have an unranked home underdog hosting a ranked team. This will be Oklahoma State’s third time on the road in their last four games, while West Virginia is playing their second-straight home game. The trip to Morgantown is never easy. This game won’t be pretty, but I see the Mountaineers winning their second straight game over a ranked team.
West Virginia 24, Oklahoma State 21
Tennessee v. No. 18 Kentucky (Pick) – 7:00 PM EST – ESPN2
Has Kentucky peaked? I think so. After nice wins over Florida and LSU, the Wildcats have fallen in their last two games to Georgia and Mississippi State. Will Levis was really bad last week, tossing three interceptions in the loss to Mississippi State. We could be seeing the defense of the Wildcats wearing down after having to carry the team for much of the year so far.
Tennessee has also lost their last two games. Luckily the Volunteers have had some time to recover from their loss to Alabama, as they had the week off. Tennessee was actually hanging with the Crimson Tide before Alabama pulled away in the fourth quarter. Hendon Hooker has been electric for the Volunteers this year, and I think that continues on Saturday night.
Even though Kentucky has been strong in Lexington this year, I think we have already seen the best of the Wildcats this year, while Tennessee feels like they are still getting better. Josh Heupel has his team ready to play after a week off. The Volunteers hand their rivals a third straight loss.
Tennessee 31, Kentucky 24
Boise State v. No. 23 Fresno State (-5) – 7:00 PM EST – CBS Sports Network
The last time I picked a Boise State game, I had the Broncos losing to BYU. Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson since I think Fresno State is going to beat Boise State here. The Bulldogs are coming off a game that saw them ruin San Diego State’s dreams of an undefeated season. Normally you could say this has the possibility of being a letdown game, but Fresno State has had a number of big wins this year, so they know how handle their business.
Fresno State 34, Boise State 23
No. 4 Oregon (-7) v. Washington – 7:30 PM EST – ABC
Washington head coach Jimmy Lake went the academic route when it came to smacking talking Oregon. That alone has me rooting for the Ducks this weekend. Plus, another win by the Ducks would at least make Ohio State’s lone loss of the season look a little better. Oregon was a bit of a surprise in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the year, sitting at No. 4 after the first reveal.
Washington has been a real tough watch this season. Aside from a game against Arkansas State earlier in the year when they scored 52 points, the only other game where the Huskies cracked 30 points was in an overtime win against Cal. As if scoring wasn’t tough enough for Washington, how are they going to put points on the board while having to deal with Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux?
I know this goes against how I picked the Oklahoma State/West Virginia game, where I picked an unranked home underdog against a ranked favorite. This is different since Oregon has pretty much owned the Huskies for more than a decade. The Ducks have too much on both sides of the football for Washington to handle.
Oregon 31, Washington 17
UTSA (-11) v. UTEP – 10:15 PM EST – ESPN2
It’s too bad that UTEP lost last week or else this game could’ve gotten the College GameDay treatment. UTSA comes into this game as one of the few undefeated teams around the country, while UTEP is 6-2. I’m not going to pretend to know a ton about these teams, it just seems like a really fun matchup to close out the first Saturday of college football in November.
I do know a little about UTSA since they went into Champaign and beat Illinois earlier this year. Sincere McCormick is just over 100 yards away from 1,000 rushing yards on the season, while Frank Harris has thrown 16 touchdowns this year. What the Roadrunners do really well is force turnovers, while UTEP has given away the football numerous times this year.
I think UTSA is better than people might think, and UTEP isn’t quite as good as their record might indicate. The Roadrunners also have to be feeling a little slighted that they weren’t in the first College Football Playoff rankings this year. Not that a win over UTEP is going to put them in the CFP Top-25, but it will give the committee something to think about.
UTSA 38 UTEP 21
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.